A Muscogee County mother of three is voicing her concerns about the Muscogee County school board’s proposal to lengthen the school day that would mostly affect elementary school students.
The proposed adjustment would take place in the 2019 to 2020 school year that is set to begin on Aug. 8th.
“I feel first of all surprised,” Amanda Hoskins says. She has three kids in the Muscogee County School System; all of which are in elementary school. That was her reaction when she found out the school board wanted to lengthen the school day by 30 minutes for elementary schools.
She says she thought about how her 6-year-old daughter would handle the change.
“Making the day earlier would just be a real struggle for her, I would see her fatigued. I would see her having attention issues in her classroom,” Hoskins replied.
“We currently operate on a six hour and 30 min day. We are going to ask that we increase the day to 7seven hours of instructional time for elementary. We know that if we increase the time by 30 minutes, that is 90 hours of addition time of instruction,” said the presenter during Monday’s work session.
Hoskins doesn’t feel as though the board did enough research before presenting this to the community.
“We feel like our children deserve well planned thought out, research-based and data-based initiatives to happen. Our county is so large that we do not feel like we can make decisions of this magnitude without our input and our voice being heard,” says Hoskins.
The Board listed a few benefits to the proposed change.
“There’s a real silver lining in this for operations anyhow. It gives us some flexibility in the morning. We think it will help us with breakfast participation and have more kids eating breakfast. And then on the backside of it, it will help us on the transportation side,” said the presenter.
Hoskins didn’t see it that way. “I don’t see how that will ever be a benefit to our students. They’re not increasing the breakfast time, there’s still the same traffic time. Our children are not developmentally ready.”
Hoskins says those things don’t correlate to instructional time.
“I urge all of you get on the phone call the board members, they are listening, they want to hear from us, email them they will call you back. They are going to meet on May 20th, and then again on June 10th. Go ahead and bring your concerns to those meetings, don’t wait because they’re likely to have already made their decisions. Be proactive and get involved. We need a better school day. Not a longer one,” she said.
Middle and high school students would be affected as well. Middle schools would increase their day by 12 minutes. Their day currently runs from 8:50 a.m. until 3:53 p.m. The proposed adjustment would start middle school at 8:45 a.m. and conclude it at 4:00 p.m.
High school students would shift their day back by five minutes, starting at 8:15 a.m. rather than 8:10 a.m. and finishing at 3:30 p.m. instead of 3:25 p.m.
Hoskins started a facebook forum with additional information on the proposal. She says after 36 hours, the group has reached over 300 people and no one is for the proposal.